Trihexyltetradecylphosphonium chloride based ratiometric fluorescent nanosensors for multiplex anion discrimination†
Compared with the well-studied cations, the development of methods for anion detection is relatively slow due to the anion characteristics such as a complex geometry, strong hydration and a low charge density. Herein, a colorimetric and ratiometric fluorescent anion sensing platform based on trihexyltetradecylphosphonium chloride ([THTP][Cl]) was developed for the first time. Such nanosensors exhibited a pH response of 5–7 as well as a high selectivity to perchlorate. The selectivity behavior followed the Hofmeister series in which lipophilic anions were more readily co-extracted. To deviate from the Hofmeister series, anion ionophores should be introduced for selective complexation of the target anions. As a proof of concept, the organomercury compounds ETH9033 and ETH9009 were employed as model ionophores. The obtained nitrate- and chloride-selective [THTP][Cl]-based nanosensors demonstrated prominent colorimetric and spectroscopic transformations specifically induced by the anion species. The fluorescence (I675/I600) and absorbance (A650/A500) intensities versus the logarithm values of anion concentrations proved a high selectivity towards the major anion. The excellent performance such as high selectivity, good sensitivity and fast response times enabled the accurate determination of nitrate in mineral water. More importantly, through simply altering the ionophores, a pool of [THTP][Cl]-based anion-selective nano-optodes for extended targets could be achieved. The nanosensor shows great potential for anion determination in the environmental and biomedical fields.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Analyst HOT Articles 2022